“…of all the trumpeters to come to prominence in the 60’s. Charles Tolliver was perhaps the most sensitive to the necessity of swinging.” –Ira Gitler/THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAZZ IN THE 70s
During the 60s Charles Tolliver worked extensively with several leading bop musicians of the time including Jackie McLean, with whom he recorded the 1964 Blue Note Records session It’s Time, Art Blakey and Sonny Rollins. He spent the second half of the decade on the west coast playing with Gerald Wilson, in whose band he met Roy Ayers. He recorded with both Wilson and Ayers as leaders and he was a member of the Max Roach Quintet, recording the 1968 Atlantic Records session Members Don’t Get Weary. At the end of the 60s he was a founder member of the cooperative quartet, Music, Inc. Another member of this band was Stanley Cowell with whom Tolliver formed a record company, Strata-East.
In 2007, Charles released the big band album With Love, which was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. He followed this up two years later with another big band release, Emperor March: Live at the Blue Note.
Charles currently performs with his Music Inc band: Theo Hill on piano, Bruce Edwards on guitar, drummer Gene Jackson and bassist Devin Stark.
2015 saw a wonderful celebration of Strata-East. Charles was joined by the Strata-East All Stars (Stanley Cowell, Alvin Queen, Billy Harper, Cecil McBee and special guest Jean Carne) for three European concerts, culminating in a performance at the Barbican hosted by BBC 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson.